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The quality assurance (QA) program for meteorological measurements must begin with a QA plan which identifies the purposes for which the measurements will be made. Assume a monitoring task where a one-year data set of hourly values of wind speed, wind direction, air temperature, relative humidity, and precipitation amount is needed to describe the air quality measurements being automatically recorded.
The QA plan will define the accuracy needed for this description and will give the quality control tasks necessary to produce data of this accuracy. The plan will also address the auditing tasks necessary to assure that the data, in their final use form, meet these requirements.
Each variable must be addressed in terms of measurement method or instrument type, sensor siting, data handling (especially averaging or editing), and representativeness. The question of representativeness has many facets. First, one must be sure that the measurement itself has no bias or that the bias is understood. Given an unbiased measurement at the sensor location, one must be sure that location is what the use requires. Finally, the hourly value used should represent the time period the use requires. For example, if a back-trajectory analysis is needed to estimate the volume location from which the air quality instrument was sampling, the hourly wind data should be a vector average for the hour and not an instantaneous or few-minute average taken once an hour.
quality, quality assurance plan, meteorology, wind speed, wind direction, temperature, relative humidity, solar radiation, precipitation, validity
President, Meteorological Standards Institute, Fox Island, WA